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Canada. Decrease in the number of students in public schools

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Just over 5 million students were enrolled in public elementary and secondary school programs in Canada during the 2010/2011 school year, the lowest enrolment since 2006/2007.

Over the five-year period, the number of young Canadians enrolled in an elementary or secondary public school decreased annually. This trend was consistent with the changes in the size of the school-aged population over this period. In 2006/2007, young Canadians enrolled in public schools represented 15.7% of the total population. By 2010/2011, this proportion fell to 14.7%.

Nationally, regular second language program enrolments decreased by 6.8%. However, Alberta posted a 14.2% increase over the five-year period.

On the other hand, second language immersion program enrolments increased in almost every province and territory at a rate of 12.1% nationally.

In most provinces and territories, there was a marked increase in enrolments in minority language programs over the five-year period, with the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Alberta posting percentage changes greater than or equal to 20%. Minority language programs allow children from the linguistic minority of a province or territory to pursue their education in their first official language.

Between 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, the number of students who obtained a secondary school diploma from a public institution decreased by 1.0%, falling from 352,000 graduates to 349,000.

Over the five-year period, however, there was a 9.5% increase nationally. Ontario posted the largest increase at 16.7%, followed by Nunavut (+14.6%), Quebec (+11.5%), Manitoba (+6.1%), Alberta (+3.5%) and British Columbia (+3.3%). The number of graduates from public institutions remained stable or declined in the other provinces and territories.

There were fewer students per educator in 2010/2011 compared with 2006/2007. The national student-educator ratio in public schools edged down over the five-year period, falling from 14.7 in 2006/2007 to 13.9 in 2010/2011.

The reason for the decrease in the number of students per educator over the five-year period across Canada varied. In some cases, it was because of a decline in student enrolment while in other cases, it was a consequence of an increase in the number of educators/pedagogical support.


© Statistics Canada -

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